Monday, May 11, 2009

Sweet Strawberries and Cream Dreams

I heard through my sources that strawberries would be at my neighborhood's farmers market this week. The first pick of the season. It's only May and salivation, gastronomical dreams, and summer mentally arrives from this inside stock hint. The berry season starts much earlier here in North Georgia then in the Midwest, where I was born and raised. Our trips from South of Chicago to the SE Michigan strawberry fields for u-pick-em weren't all the way until mid-June. It's quite the perk living here when that first inkling of summer fruit arrives a month and a half earlier. So the South turns out to be a pretty darn good place to live after all.

When sustainable food advocates make the case for local food, proof lies in the superior taste alone, with the tomato as the typical exemplar. It possesses obvious distinction of preeminence when fresh picked, local, heirloom, still sun warm off the field/garden and vine. I whole heatedly am an in-season-only tomato eating snob, (good thing this lasts about 4 months in my foodshed) but we must not ignore the berry of all berries and appreciate the strawberry for its all mighty seasonal reign.

Strawberries are a go-to fruit for something special and any dish beholding this ingredient typically has a notch higher of respect. Who ever turns down an offer of food with strawberries? Quite rare to find a soul who rejects its seductive tantalizing goodness. A few slices of the red fruit can make any bowl of honeydew, cantaloupe, and grapes look at least pretty and far more appealing. Unfortunately, the splash of red color in such a typical offering is all that it is gained in such cases. When you get a strawberry out of season it is shipped from who knows where, far, far away (miraculously easy today due to our conventional food system - mechanized, cheap fossil fuel dependent, subsidized petro-fertilizer inputs, and exploited farm workers on 2 dollars-a-day while exposed to neurotoxicant, carcinogenic, reproductive damaging pest killers). Personally, I think regulations should be in place where these red, heart shaped posers should not even be allowed to be labeled 'strawberry'. They might look the same on the outside, except for those with apparent monstrous doses of steroids, carrying the resembling seeds on the outside and some green stem on top, but just open it up and hold on, wait just a sec - what? where did the berry's insides go? What little flesh exists is white - white? Mushy, and, well, tasteless. Where is the red juice...or any juice? You know the stuff where the flavor is, and probably the residence of the antioxidants and other rich nutrients. I'll tell you without any fancy lab equipment that it's not potent in that strawberry.

Enough of that nightmare and back to my local, organic berries from the market that do not disappoint. With this precious collection I am taken back to the farm trips to Michigan. Juice running down my face again as I walk back home with my brown bag of red gold.
You can do so much with this fruit, that is if you have any left after the trip home. The next couple weeks I get my full dose of Vit. C for the year. I eat berries and yogurt for breakfast, berries, goat cheese, and walnuts in my salad, berries over ice cream, strawberry pancakes and bread, berries and chocolate, and the president of all things strawberry - berries with whipped cream, sometimes with a dash of shortcake. But, still most are eaten straight up. No additional ingredients are required to reverently enjoy the pure pleasure provided.

Unfortunately, I run out, besides freezing a few baggies for a mid-winter treat, not having enough to make preserves as I had planned. I cross my fingers in an earnest promise to plant my own strawberry bushes next year.

1 comment:

  1. You could get more farm fresh strawberries as well as other kinds of produce delivered straight to your doorstep if you try out the Atlanta local food delivery services near your area.